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Trinity Footbridge
River Irwell, Manchester, UK
Trinity Footbridge
associated engineer
Santiago Calatrava
date  1993 - 25th September 1995
UK era  Modern  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SJ833984
photo  ICE R&D Fund
The asymmetrical cable-stayed Trinity Footbridge that sweeps drammatically across the River Irwell from Salford to central Manchester is the work of Valencian architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava. Its name comes from the nearby Trinity Church.
The bridge is a single straight deck over the river supported by a 41m vaguely cigar-shaped pylon on the north bank, all painted white. The deck forks at the pylon, becoming two curved ramps that fit smoothly into the surrounding landscaping. A network of cables and back stays, starting from varying but regular points on the pylon, supports the deck and ramps.
The pylon is angled away from the river (62 degrees) in order to reduce the axial forces in the structure. It has a wall thickness of 40mm and a diameter of 550mm at the base and 1.2m at the anchor point of the second-lowest cables. It rests on a 5m high reinforced concrete pillar inclined at the same angle, founded on piles.
The bridge is 78.5m long overall with a 54m river span. The main deck is a triangular section box girder and slopes up 4 degrees towards the south to accommodate the 5m height difference between the two banks.
The main cable array consists of eight 30mm diameter cables at angles of between 16 degrees (lowest) and 39 degrees (highest). Their upper anchorages are recessed into the pylon and were welded in place before pylon assembly was completed. The two sets of back stays are also 30mm diameter cables and are designed to resist the horizontal forces from the deck cables. At the ends of the decks are steel tie-downs, stressed to 200 tonnes, which tension the cables.
The bridge contains 210 tonnes of structural steel and cost 1.9m to build. The construction project was run jointly by Salford City Council and Salford Phoenix, and was opened jointly by the Mayors of Salford and Manchester.
Trinity Footbridge has experienced durability problems and been subject to some criticism from engineers. Major refurbishment in early 2002 included replacement of the tie-downs and the movement joints. By 2006 there was extensive corrosion around the tie-downs and the cable sleeves on the deck.
Main contractor: Dew Group Ltd
Steel supply: Corus
Cable supply: Bridon International
Steel fabrication: Urssa
Research: PD

Trinity Footbridge